Kaylah-Blayr Fitzsimons-Nu’u spent years wanting to be skinnier. “Body image has always been one of my biggest hurdles … I spent my whole life thinking I needed to get skinny… but trying to get ‘skinny’ had never worked for me.”
When she realized she’s just not built to be thin, yet she can still be strong, beautiful and successful, it was life-changing – and she shifted her mindset completely. “I went from thinking “I need to get skinny” to thinking “I want to be the best athlete I can, so I can perform. I gave myself a new goal of wanting to be the best athlete I could.” And she’s made it happen. Now, as a hugely popular fitness professional, Kaylah-Blayr is supremely fit, healthy and most importantly, proud of her body.
“I went from thinking ‘I need to get skinny’ to thinking ‘I want to be the best athlete I can’.”
If you’re starting the New Year with plans to dial up your exercise efforts and shed some pounds, you too might want to follow Kaylah-Blayr’s lead and shift your focus.
What’s the problem with focusing on exercise for weight loss?
Exercise has long been a common prescription for people looking to improve health by losing weight. For decades, we’ve been led to believe that simply adding exercise is the secret to shedding those unwanted pounds. But the evidence doesn't really support this. Now, academics and experts are doing an about-turn. Following a recent research review, we’re seeing a pivot away from the push to exercise for weight loss, and instead, focus on improving fitness. The most recent findings show you can be healthy at any weight – if you’re active.
You can be healthy at any weight – if you’re active.
This doesn't mean that maintaining a healthy weight isn't a valuable health objective, it is. And we know that exercise can deliver significant changes to body composition. But scientists have shown that when it comes to weight loss, focusing on exercise alone often results in less weight loss than expected. And if your primary focus is weight loss this can be problematic on a number of levels. When you don't see the results you dream of you can feel disappointment, despondence and become disengaged from your workout routine. And when that happens, you lose all the other magnificent benefits that come from exercise.
Fitness is not about what you lose. It’s what you gain
You get a wealth of wins from working out regularly, and they can be much more life-changing than shedding a few pounds. Exercise will reduce stress and anxiety, it will help you feel happier and more successful and it can ease negativity. Exercise is an important medicine when it comes to countering all sorts of illnesses and it is key to improved brain function. Regular exercise can keep you youthful and help you live longer and that’s just the beginning … there are many other novel benefits of exercise too.
Kaylah-Blayr believes that when you become more aware of all these wonderful ways exercise is benefiting your body, it really keeps you motivated. “There are different types of motivation that appeal to different people,” she adds. “Find what works for you. Figure out what fills your tank, and what makes you want to get moving.”
With this front of mind, you'll have realistic expectations for results. Leaving you free to celebrate the many and varied ways that exercise transforms your body and mind.